Narendra Singh Modi
Exit polls in four Indian states clearly indicated that the ruling Congress Party is on the wane while the Opposition Bharetiya Janatha Party (BJP) is forging ahead with a new anti corruption party Aam Adam Party (AAP) making an impressive entry into Indian politics in its first attempt.
Exit polls are new to India and on earlier at times have been wrong but commentators on the Indian political scene said last week that the projections appear to be in line with the thinking of the electorate.
The final results are to be announced today after the actual count.
Enter the Hindu Nationalist
Narendra Singh Modi, (63) the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate appears to be going through a log cabin to White House performance and it has not surprised most observers. But what will be significant to most Indians and even to India’s neighbours is that Modi is a hawk in Indian politics and is feared and abhorred by vast swathes of Indians particularly the Muslims and liberals. His rhetoric is unabashedly anti-Muslim while his stock is high among Hindu fundamentalists, the BJP itself having ‘HIndutva’ as its basic political foundation.
He had humble beginnings coming from a family of ‘grocers’ which in Sri Lankan terms would be interpreted as small boutique keepers.
As a young boy he ran a ‘tea stall’ at a busy bus stand in the Mumbai area and was later an employee in a canteen of a transport organisation. His rise in politics has been through the militant Hindu para military organisation, the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). Modi’s political climb commenced with him becoming a propagandist for the organisation. He had been a student leader having obtained Master’s Degree from the University of Gujrat.
Rise in the BJP
Seconded by the RSS to the BJP he had a rapid rise within the party and is recognised for his talents in political organisation. His rise in Gujrat state politics was rapid despite not being liked by the party’s veterans like former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and even Lal Advani. In 2001 he was the Chief Minister of Gujrat and for the first time gained notoriety for his anti Muslim stance while being the Chief Minister.
In that year a packed train of Hindus had been attacked and set on fire while going through the state. Fifty eight people were killed in that incident. The attack was blamed on Muslims and it inflamed the passions of the majority Hindus. The result was a massacre of Muslims. Modi’s state administration was accused of taking insufficient action to prevent violence and even condoning it. The death toll in the state has been estimated between 900 and 2000 with several thousands severely injured. Modi’s defenders point out that he had declared curfew, called in the military and ordered them to shoot on sight.
A special Investigating team appointed by the Supreme Court did not find any incriminating evidence against Modie although an Amicus Curae appointed by the Supreme Court observed that Modi could be prosecuted for promoting enmity between different groups of people.
There were calls all round the country for Modi to resign from the post of Chief Minister but Modi has been re-elected for that post for the fourth time.